Freedom Is Not Free is a mission-driven organization. The role of the organization's Purple Heart Advisory Board is to facilitate the best possible allocation of funds to serve the mission. The Purple Heart Advisory Board is comprised of active duty and veteran Purple Heart recipients and their survivors. The Board, made up of “those who have been there,” determines how the funds are allocated in order to respond to those most in need of support.
Carl Frank grew up in South Bend, Indiana. He served with the 101st Airborne (Screaming Eagles) 1st Brigade, 2nd Battalion, and 327th infantry in the Republic of South Viet Nam during 1967-68. This elite paratrooper battalion distinguished itself as having the longest continuous service of any combat unit in Viet Nam. Carl’s battalion was on a “search and destroy” mission in Quang Tri Province when the paratroopers encountered heavy fire from an entrenched North Vietnamese Army Division. On March 21, 1968 Carl led his comrades on a pre-dawn assault. As he was attempting to rescue a fallen comrade, he was hit by an AK-47 round shattering a bone in his right forearm just below the elbow. Although the paratroopers defeated the enemy, the battle dragged on for several days and the 101st sustained heavy casualties. During his hospital stay, Carl was assigned to assist his fellow soldiers in the hospital’s rehabilitation facility. Following his military service Carl earned B.S. degree in Business Administration from Indiana University and then went on to complete an M.B.A. at the University of Arizona. Carl owns CG Patriots Construction Co. Inc. and resides with his two children and a grandchild in San Diego, California.
Jason Millard is the Manager of California Bicycle, Inc. in La Jolla, California. Jason is considered one of the most knowledgable and experienced bicycle retail professionals in the United States. He not only knows the ins and outs of the bicycle business, but he is also a world-class bicycle mechanic, having worked as a "wrench" for a number of professional bicycle racing teams during some of the premier stage races in the U.S. Jason is the brother of Corporal Gregory N. Millard, U.S. Army, 82nd Airborne, who was killed in action on May 26, 2007, during combat operations in Samarra, Iraq. He is married and the proud father of two.
Kevin Millard is the President/Owner of California Bicycle, Inc. in La Jolla, California. In the mid-1970s a young Kevin took his love of bicycles and opened California Bicycle. His continued dedication to the industry, commitment to excellence and focus on quality has made California Bicycle one of the finest bicycle retailers nationwide. Today Kevin, along with his dedicated and professionally trained staff, continues to provide that same commitment to cyclists of all types and ages and is the preferred retailer amoung the cycling community for bicycles, accessories and service. Kevin has over 30 years of experience in the bicycle industry. Kevin is the father of Corporal Gregory N. Millard, U.S. Army, 82nd Airborne, who was killed in action on May 26, 2007, during combat operations in Samarra, Iraq. He is married and a proud grandfather.
Tim Mincarelli is a marketing and public relations professional from Huntington Beach, California. Mr. Mincarelli is a former Marine combat veteran from the Vietnam War. He served a 13-month tour of duty in the Republic of Vietnam from September 1967 to October 1968 with a 105mm Howitzer gun crew in the Quang Tri Province. He was first wounded during the Khe Sanh siege in 1968 when he was hit in the upper leg. The Navy corpsman patched him up and he returned to the fight, never considering that he might qualify for a Purple Heart medal. Mr. Mincarelli was wounded a second time during a fierce mortar attack on his gun crew's position. He was wounded in the head, with the shrapnel penetrating his helmet. When he first awoke from the injury he was on an operating table on a hospital ship. Two weeks later, Mr. Mincarelli was back with his unit when he was awarded the Purple Heart during a field formation. For years Mr. Mincarelli didn't think or talk much about his Purple Heart because so many fellow Marines were wounded far worse than he was and many more were killed in action -- yet they all received the same medal. In honor of those who lost their lives, he never spoke about the award. As time went on, his Purple Heart became a badge of honor for having stood up and fought for his country during a time when such service and patriotism were unpopular. "I think that for all battlefield veterans there is special meaning to the phrase, 'freedom is not free'. When you've seen for yourself the real cost of lives, on both sides in combat; have fought for your life; and have visited the millions of white headstones at Arlington cemetery, the real cost of freedom becames readily apparent." Mr. Mincarelli is also the Advertising and Marketing Director for the Devil Pups Youth Program for America.
Nick Popaditch was born on July 2, 1967 in East Chicago, Indiana. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1986 and reported for recruit training at MCRD, San Diego, California. His duty assignments included: 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division, where he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and served as a tank commander during Operation Desert Shield/Storm in 1991. After six years of active duty service, Nick was honorably discharged in 1992. Following re-enlistment in 1992, Popaditch again reported to the 1st Tank Battalion, where he once again served as a tank commander. He was assigned as a Drill Instructor at MCRD, San Diego from 1998 until his return to the 1st Marine Division in 2002. "Gunny Pop" as he is known, was a witness to history n both Desert Shield/Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom -- commanding an M1-A1 Abrams Battle Tank from the deserts of southern Iraq to the streets of Baghdad, he is also known as "The Cigar Marine" from the AP photo that appeared on the front pages of newspapers across the U.S. at the time that Marines pulled down a statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad. "Gunny Pop" was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry for his actions on April 6 and 7, 2004, while commanding a tank in Fallujah, Iraq, and was also awarded the Purple Heart. He is the author of Once a Marine: An Iraq War Tank Commander's Inspirational Memoir of Combat, Courage, and Recovery. The book holds an honored spot on the United States Marine Corps Professional Reading program, also known as the Commandant's Reading List. Marine Corps University recommends Once a Marine for every rank from Private to General. "Gunny Pop" was medically retired from the Marines in 2005 at the rank of Gunnery Sergeant as a result of wounds sustained in combat in the battle of Fallujah.
Paula Zwillinger, a registered nurse by trade, is both a Gold and Blue Star Mom. Ms. Zwillinger started a support group in New York which is now a nonprofit and a New York state-recognized charity. While in the midst of starting this group, Semper Fi Parents of Hudson Valley, NY (www.semperfiparentshv.org), Ms. Zwillinger lost her son, Lance Corporal Robert Mininger, on June 6, 2005. Ms. Zwillinger has been involved in the making of the HBO documentaries "Baghdad ER," "Alive Day Memories" and "Arlington Section 60." She has served on the Marine Parents United Board of Directors and presently serves with Hope for the Warriors. Ms. Zwillinger has traveled to Landstuhl, Germany, to visit our troops during the holiday season and has completed the Marine Educator Workshop at Parris Island, SC. With her sole surviving son serving as a Marine reservist, Ms. Zwillinger continues to carry the pride of having a child serving his country in one hand and the emotional strain that comes with the knowledge that that child may one day go in harm's way.
Freedom Is Not Free is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to assisting wounded service members and their families, and the families of the fallen. Freedom Is Not Free makes grants to Purple Heart recipients and their families to meet their immediate financial needs, including but not limited to, the expenses associated with medical care, travel, home modification, and paying bills. We support community projects and provide activities for wounded service members and their families.
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U.S. Troops Killed in OIF: 4,422
U.S. Troops Killed in OEF: 2,100
U.S. Wounded in Action: 50,407
As of 14 May 2013